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Message from Mr Solly 20/04/20

Please take some time to read the message from Mr Solly below...

Dear parents and carers

I hope this email finds you and your families safe and well. Today we were due to return to school after a 2 week Easter break, for the start of the summer term; it feels very strange to not be travelling into Uppingham to start our final term of the academic year.

As it was confirmed recently that we remain in a lockdown situation for another three weeks, we will be continuing to set work for our students using Show My Homework. However, we are making some adaptations to our arrangements for remote learning based on the feedback we received from our parent, staff and student questionnaires. We received a good number of returns from these surveys and the feedback was useful to us. We have asked our teachers to consider the following recommendations for the setting of work from today onwards:

  • Reduce the volume of work set per lesson by half – work on the premise that a 1 hour lesson at school takes twice as long at home
  • All work set to have very clear step by step instructions 
  • Break the work down into chunks
  • Provide explanations for more difficult tasks/new learning 
  • Set work for one day ahead only – students are becoming overwhelmed by unwieldy ‘To-Do lists’.
  • If you are setting longer project type work, specify for each timetabled lesson, which activities could be attempted – this will make it much easier for students and parents to organise their time.
  • Ensure that work is set work by 9am for each day.
  • Don’t expect students to have completed the work set by 4pm on each day – many students do not have sole computer access. 
  • Do not set work that requires printing.
  • Do not set work due in at the weekend.

We are not going to be introducing ‘live’ lessons that are streamed online using platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. We have explored how these could be used and we have looked at schools where this is being introduced, however we feel it is not appropriate for the following reasons:

  • Not all students will be able to access the lesson at the time it is being streamed.
  • There has not been sufficient time to train students or staff before schools were closed.
  • There are safeguarding considerations which we do not feel can be overcome without thorough training and preparation.
  • Not all teachers will be able to deliver lessons in this way for a variety of reasons.

We feel that our approach to setting work through Show My Homework has been the best solution considering the circumstances, and with the adaptations we are making, based on the feedback we have received, we believe this will further improve these arrangements.

I know that Year 10 students will be thinking about what the implications for their GCSE qualifications will be if schools remain closed throughout the summer term. My advice here is not to worry about this. The current Year 11 have been treated fairly by the Department for Education and Ofqual and I am sure that more information about the arrangements for exams in the summer of 2021 will emerge over the next few weeks.

We are not sure how long schools will be closed for and what the programme for re-opening will look like. I do not believe it will be as simple as just flicking a switch and everyone returning to school. There will need to be some careful thought and planning behind re-opening schools on a national level and please rest assured that my leadership team and I are working on all the necessary arrangements possible to ensure we can return to normality safely and effectively when it is appropriate to do so.

I am sure that this has been an extremely challenging period of time for you all. There are so many factors to consider as parents and I know you will be doing an amazing job in these difficult circumstances. Please encourage your son or daughter to do their best with the work that has been set by their teachers but I want to be really clear about this – this is not the ‘be all and end all’. What I am most concerned about is that all of our UCC students are as safe, happy, healthy and well as possible.

We will continue to send out our newsletter each Friday, celebrating some of the fabulous work, achievements and news that our families share with us. I will continue to include a weekly update in this newsletter so if you do not currently subscribe to this and would like to receive it, please email Kim Stuart-Jones

Stay safe,

Mr B Solly